It’s been quite some time between now and my last post. I have finally gotten over the shock of losing my beloved Yvonne to the point of being able to share more thoughts with you now. My thoughts going forward will be different I’m sure, because now, I’m different. I now have a personal relationship with death. Consequently, the nonsense that America has decided to subject itself to no longer holds my interest like it once did. I know we are headed for a catastrophe of epic proportions, and I also know that nothing but the catastrophe itself is going to change the minds of the people leading us there. I don’t see how I can add much more benefit to the situation. If I come across something I think will help in the future I’ll share it with you, but again, my present thinking is more existential than political.
Someone once called me a young soul. This person was a new age type who believed in reincarnation and the afterlife. What she meant was I had only experienced a few past lives, while most people have experienced dozens or even hundreds. She never explained where we all came from in the first place, but be that as it may, her point was that my soul was spiritually naïve and that I had experienced so few lives that I lack the innate understanding that most people have when it comes to powerful life experiences. Consequently, I love more passionately, emote more deeply and empathize more intensely than most people, according to her. According to this woman, I’m also more trusting and consequently more vulnerable to the bad intentions of others, much like a child. Admittedly, when I first heard all of this, I thought it was complete nonsense. Now that I’ve lost Yvonne, I feel like her interpretation of eternity is as good as anyone else.
More than ever, I understand some other person created everything I’ve been taught about God and religion. There is physical evidence to prove that the various texts that we live and die by and claim to have been written by God were actually written by other men. Sure, you can claim that God was speaking through those men, but no matter how you slice it, our faith is in man, not God. Our belief in God comes from something other men tell us or claims they make about God, not from God himself. We can’t know anything that doesn’t exist in our present reality.
Recently, I read a book titled Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari. I’ve spoken of him in previous posts while referencing his best selling novel, Sapiens, A briefHistory of Humankind. In Homo Deus, he endeavors to predict a possible future where belief in God and spirit as the source of human inspiration is replaced by belief in mathematical and biochemical algorithms. In both books he talks about religion. He defines religion differently than we traditionally think of it, that is to say, a belief in a grand design by a supernatural being who provides the ultimate meaning in our lives. Instead, he defines religion as an overriding belief that unites nations of people to act on behalf of and in keeping with that belief, even when there is no physical evidence to support that belief and even when it flies against what serves our best personal interest. Consequently, much of what we call politics can be considered religion, given how we practice it today. In other words, he defines religion as man’s ability to tell a good story. He maintains that it is man’s ability to sell each other on stories, that has made it possible for humankind to take over the entire planet and absent that ability, we would not have evolved much more than the other primates and apes we share the planet with. As he put it, one monkey can teach another monkey how to peal and eat a banana, but one monkey can never convince another monkey to give up her banana for the promise of all the bananas she can eat in heaven after she dies. According to Harari, the most dominant religion on Earth for the past almost 400 years or so since the French revolution is not the middle ages, medieval based religion we worship in our churches, synagogues and mosques, but the religion he calls humanism. Humanism espouses the concept of individual human rights and the belief that all men are created equal. Up until the French Revolution, the belief was that certain people (mainly royalty and the wealthy) were born with inherently more value than everyone else. He goes on to say that just as traditional religions tend to evolve into different sects that promote the same basic belief but with a special twist, humanism evolved into the three sects of Liberal Humanism, Social Humanism and Genetic Humanism. Liberal Humanism basically believes a free market economy best serves humankind’s self interests (what we call democracy), Social Humanism believes that a small collective of the people should be in charge of distributing all the wealth of the nation equally to all of the people of the nation, regardless of the size of their contribution (what we call communism) and Genetic Humanism which believes that the racially dominant group has an obligation to exploit and if necessary, eliminate the “inferior” races of people; they are essentially Darwinists gone wild (what we call fascists). So when considered from Harari’s point of view, you could conclude that the present conflict in America is not between Democrats and Republicans, both of whom are essentially, Liberal Humanists, but between an alliance of convenience that has been formed between Medieval Based Religionists, Genetic Humanists and a handful of well meaning but misguided Republican Liberal Humanists, against all the other Liberal Humanists. I mention these things for two reasons. First, if we’re going to self-destruct, we should at least have as clear incite as possible how and why we are doing it and who is leading us off the cliff. Secondly, to drive home the point that the result of this conflict is going to be final and many of us will be gone forever.
That’s where death comes in. Death is just a concept until you lose someone you truly love in life. We all have family and friends we love, but I’m convinced that in a lifetime, there only few people you love so much that you feel you can’t live without, usually just one or two at any given time. That person may be a spouse, sibling, parent or a friend, but once you lose them, life takes on a whole new meaning. Until you loose that person, most of your thoughts focus on desire and the things you enjoy or want in life. But when you loose that special someone, you begin to see the true value of things and how most material possessions are not only worthless in and of themselves, but are also meaningless without that special person. Frequently, as in my case, you don’t realize the power of your relationship with that person until after that person is gone. Perhaps this is why human beings do such crazy things that risk the loss of those one or two people who for us define our reason for living. If I had known ahead of time that I was only going to have 46 years on Earth with Yvonne, as much as I loved and cherished her, I would have tried to squeeze twice as much love and expressions of appreciation into those 46 years. At the same time I realize that even if I had been able to do that, once she was gone I would have wished I had done twice that much more. There is no satisfying accounting for the bereaved when it comes to eternity.